by Melissa Geissinger
How We Are Like Pottery
You don't have to literally survive a fire or be a super deep thinker to get it. It's not really a big stretch. Pottery is fragile until it's been fired. Clay is carefully sculpted with an attentive touch and only holds its shape when it's put in a kiln at over 1000 degrees Celsius and exposed to extreme temperatures.
We're like that too. We're more soft and susceptible to damage before we've seen hard times. After we've been through some shit, it hardens us and leaves us more likely to survive.
Why I Fell in Love with Raku
Raku pottery, or the American version of it, is inspired by traditional Japanese firing techniques. I don't just love it because it's gorgeous and happens to share a name with my favorite ramen restaurant in Santa Rosa. It gets its unique look from being placed in containers with combustible materials. Its beauty is heavily influenced by what's touched it, and each piece ends up coming out unique. The shimmering gold infused with toasted blues and iridescent purples can't help but demand attention. When you see it, you can't help but know that it's special. I don't know about you, but I think that's so beautifully poetic.
So a few months ago after we moved into our rental house in Bodega Bay, I strolled into a little art gallery in the town of Bodega and found a collection of vases and just fell in love. I had to take one home with me. It now sits proudly on our mantle.
Separate from this experience, my mom started buying me pieces by this one artist, that also happened to be Raku style pieces. She got them for me because they portray strong trees that shimmer with specs of purple and gold. They also feature hearts at the center of the trunks. The imagery and coloring is exactly the same as my tattoo, which I got to symbolize strength, resilience and a new promising future.